Soon, the city of Half Moon Bay will most likely adopt an ordinance banning new gas appliances over time and phasing out natural gas for both homes and businesses unless there's a large public outcry against this.
This ordinance isn't like most of the poorly thought out, fiscally irresponsible, wasteful projects that use taxpayer money, like the $5 million city parking lot, the $4 million Main Street traffic light, the $15 million-plus repair of the Main Strreet bridge, the $4 million Carter Park or the $1 million empty building on Kelly Avenue, etc. No. This is going to dig really deep into your pocket, costing everyone tens of thousands of dollars with no economic benefit to you.
If you own a home, kiss goodbye your stove, water heater, furnace, dryer, jacuzzi, outdoor fire pit and barbecue. I would estimate the cost for this conversion to be anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000, probably more for larger homes. To do this will require major rewiring of your home and likely increasing the size of your electric panel to accommodate the additional load.
For businesses, the cost will be more and very disruptive to their operations, possibly causing reduced revenue or closure and layoffs while conversion is going on. For hotels, nurseries or restaurants, the cost could easily run into the six figures. I shudder to think what the cost will be for our largest employers like the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, and Rocket Farms!
Renters, including those in affordable housing complexes, won't be immune to this either as their landlords are going to jack up rents to try and recoup some of these big costs. Or maybe landlords will sell their properties thereby reducing rental supply.
PG&E has continual power outages, so being more reliant on 100 percent electrical homes makes no sense. This summer alone I personally had four power outages — two in one week. At least with gas you can cook, stay warm and take hot showers.
To me, this is a bad economic idea. Even if you get a reduction in your PG&E bill from all-electric, which I doubt, you won't live long enough to recoup the huge cost of this conversion. The payback will take decades.
There is a silver lining. It’s a great time to be an electrician. And Half Moon Bay will make a fortune from the thousands of conversion permits they will charge us.
Please call or write to City Hall and tell them this is a bonehead idea. Better yet, show up in force at the City Council meeting on Nov. 16. Otherwise enjoy all the money you'll spend to take cold showers in the dark.
Steve Hyman is a Realtor and Half Moon Bay resident.